1787 Boulton / Sayer Wall Map of Africa
Description: This is most likely the most important map of Africa produced in the 18th century. Printed at the height of the slave trade in 1787 by the Robert Sayer firm of London, England. Largely based upon the earlier D’Anville map, this map has been enlarged and expanded by Samuel Boulton. Depicts the continent in full with insets of the Gold Coast (or Ivory Coast, or Guinea). This map is unique in that it is a serious attempt to compile all of the accurate scientific knowledge of the African continent available at the time. In contrast to may other cartographers of the period there almost no attempt to fill the “unknown” regions of the interior with fictitious beasts, kingdoms, and geological features. Boulton himself advertises “The inland parts of Africa being but very little known and the names of the regions and countries which fill that vast tract of land being for the greatest part placed by conjecture it may be judged how absurd are the divisions traced in some maps and why they are not followed in this." Despite this, this map actually does provide a wealth of information both in the form of a gazetteer printed in framed text boxes here and there on the map, as well as political and geographical features. An altogether extraordinary map and a must have for any serious Africa collection. Dated 6, January 1787.
Date: 1787 (dated)
Source: Hand Color
References: Tooley, Maps of Africa (Map collectors circle no.47), p. 4; P4300.
Cartographer: Robert Sayer (1725 - 1794) and John Bennett (fl. 1770-1784) were an important English map and print publishing duo of the mid to late 18th century. In 1747 Sayer acquired the firm of Philip Overton from his sister-in-law, Mary Overton. From his London office on 55 Fleet St., Sayer began republishing the Overton map stock while acquiring and expanding the business with plates from other printers - including maps, portraits, and nautical engravings. Sayer partnered with Bennett sometime in the late 1760s. They published numerous works by various cartographers including Kitchen, Jefferys, Belling, d'Anville, among others. Upon Sayer's death, after nearly 50 years in the map trade, the firm was acquired by Laurie and Whittle, who would continue to republish revised and updated editions of his work for many years to come. Click here for a list of rare maps from Robert Sayer and John Bennett.
Size: Printed area measures 48 in height x 41 inches in width (121.92 x 104.14 centimeters)
Condition: Very good condition. Four sheets professionally flattened, joined and backed with linen. Original color.
Code: Africa-boulton-1872 (to order by phone call: 646-320-8650)
© Geographicus Rare Antique Maps, Kevin Brown, 2/9/2014